For high school students in nearly every community in the country, spring is usually time to plan for prom. This is a time for students to shop for dresses and suits, some even tuxes. Florists are busy with orders for corsages and boutonnieres, and local hairdressers are swamped with young ladies inquiring about getting their best formal updo – all for one special night. But for some individuals who were born with a mental or physical handicap, this time can leave a longing for all of those luxuries. They may not attend a high school, and they may not get to go to a prom.
Timothy Richard Tebow is a former professional American football quarterback and current professional baseball outfielder in the New York Mets organization. Tim’s early years were spent in the Philippines where his parents were missionaries. His experiences there and in local third world villages taught him that we are all responsible to give back to others. By the time he was 15, he knew that his passion was to help others. In 2010 Tim started a foundation, The Tim Tebow Foundation, with the mission to bring faith, hope, and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour. Among many of the missions that the Tim Tebow Foundation sponsors are Tebow Cure Hospital, Wish Foundation, Orphan Care Foundation, and one that affects special needs persons locally called Night to Shine. Southridge Reformed Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan was honored to host Night to Shine on February 8, 2019.
What is Night to Shine?? Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs, ages 14 and older. On this night, over 700 churches worldwide host Night to Shine. Every guest will enter this complimentary event on a red carpet, a warm cheering crowd and paparazzi. Every guest gets the royal treatment, including coat-check, a corsage or boutonniere, hair and makeup touch-ups, shoe shine, a short limo ride, karaoke, photo booth, catered food, prom favors, and of course dancing! And at the end of the evening, everyone attending gets crowned King or Queen.
The 125 guests to the Night to Shine in Kalamazoo were invited to wear the best clothes that they have which for most isn’t much. However, thanks to donations from the community of formal wear, everyone gets to dress up! Staff at Ross Medical Education Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan heard about this one special night and decided they wanted to help. Working in conjunction with Southridge Reformed Church, Ross students and staff stepped up to collect dresses and suits for those who could not afford to rent them and collected over 20 dresses along with five complete men’s suits and ties for donation to attendees of Night to Shine.
To learn more about the Tim Tebow Foundation, Night to Shine, and how you can donate items or monetary donations, and to see the more than 700 churches that are already part of this worldwide movement, visit www.timtebowfoundation.org.